The Model


Born in someone else’s outhouse, shared with animals

Buried in a borrowed tomb, dependent on the kindness of strangers

He who had every right and ability

To have more than everything He needed

Chose to depend on others

Chose to have nothing of His own

Chose to model vulnerability

And instruct his disciples in it

“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” *

Not having a car in Cape Town for a couple of years overall has been a serious challenge. Public transport is limited and only available by day. I’ve had to learn to ask for and receive help. It’s eroded some of the negative independence I accumulated living in London, where I was able to get wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted since I was 16. It’s been painful. I’ve squirmed and fought it. Wanted to repay or back away. But I know God has been teaching me to be dependent on Him and interdependent on others. To be vulnerable.

In western society independence is elevated

Revered as supremely important

Strived for

Seen as a great virtue.

We want to be in a position to do it ourselves

Not to need anything from others

So we won’t be let down or lacking.

But there’s a man who demonstrates a different way

Tells His followers and friends to go out with nothing

Encourages them to depend on community and on God.

It’s uncomfortable

To admit we don’t know

Don’t have what we need

To reach the end of ourselves

To recognise we can’t make it happen

Can’t have everything tied up, controlled, neatly resolved.

But as we lay down our security and comfort

Our pride, self-sufficiency and independence

As we wait for Him to reveal himself

He invites us to rely on Him

To rely on our community

To let them in

He invites us into the freedom

Of the ability of ask for help

And the ability to receive it.

Because we will never fully experience

The love of God or the love of those around us

If we don’t sometimes chose that vulnerability.


Thanks to Dave Meldrum, who’s Good Friday reflections service was the starting point for these thoughts.

* Luke 9:3 The Bible, New International Version

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

One response »

  1. Loved these thoughts… thought-provoking and challenging… thanks for sharing! love (from Tajikistan), Becky and Jim

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